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Administrative Law

Module information>

Academic Direction
Laws Consortium
Modes of Study

Administrative law is a hugely expanding field and its core purpose is to ensure that any decisions or actions taken by government are lawful and, when they are not, to provide redress for grievances.

Administrative law is offered as an optional module to students studying on the Standard Entry and Graduate Entry LLB courses. It is also offered as an Individual Module. Credits from an Individual Module will not count towards the requirements of the LLB.

Administrative law is a rapidly expanding field of English law. Its core purpose is to ensure that any decisions or actions taken by government are lawful and, when they are not, to provide redress for grievances. The module also considers the role of legal processes in improving the quality of public administration. This module will appeal to students who enjoy public law and have an interest in public affairs and human rights.

Topics covered

  • The nature and scope of administrative law.
  • The legal status and powers of administrative authorities. The Crown. Ministers. Civil service, including executive agencies. Local authorities. Regulatory agencies. Other public authorities, e.g. the National Health Service.
  • Processes in public administration: legislation and delegated legislation. Discretion. Rule-making. Policies. Adjudication. Consultation. Allocation of functions.
  • Procedures and remedies of judicial review of administrative action under section 31 Senior Courts Act 1981 and Part 54 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
  • The grounds upon which judicial review may be obtained, including illegality, procedural impropriety, irrationality and legitimate expectation and the development of these grounds. Exclusion of judicial review.
  • ‘Ombudsmen’: the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. The Health Service Commissioner. The Local Commissioners for Administration.
  • Tribunals. The function, constitution and procedure of tribunals.
  • Inquiries: the origin and function of inquiries. Public local inquiries in relation to land- use control. Other types of inquiries.
  • Contract and tort liabilities and duties of public bodies. Restitution. Crown Proceedings Act 1947.
  • The impact of the European Convention of Human Rights on the development of English administrative law.
  • The impact of EU law, and European and Commonwealth legal systems on domestic administrative law.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully you should be able to:

  • Understand the key principles of judicial review
  • Explain and offer a critical analysis of the relationship between the various grounds of judicial review and process-based issues such as locus standi and the public/ private divide
  • Compare and contrast European (in the sense of EU Law and that under the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) law and English law relating to procedural fairness, legitimate expectations, proportionality and fundamental human rights
  • Explain and offer a critical analysis of non-court-based forms of control of governmental action
  • Examine how each part of the syllabus fits within the broader theoretical context applicable to public law.
  • Evaluate and critique standard legal materials and arguments;
  • Engage in research in primary and secondary materials in order to build an evidence base to support arguments that are put forward
  • Apply the knowledge acquired in the module to respond to moderately complex legal questions in both essay and problem question form
  • Construct coherent and accurate responses to self-test questions drawing on subject knowledge.


Timed unseen examination

Essential reading

Endicott, T. Administrative law. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) fifth edition [ISBN 9780192893567].